Building on my hobbies theme from the past two posts, I wanted to write about what I do in my spare time. However, I realized one singular passion project would be too boring, and quite honestly I haven’t yet found a creative outlet to fully engross me. My interests and hobbies are constantly evolving. This month, I’ve dabbled in vegan cooking and taken up meditation. I also have an ever-growing passion for blogging (did you notice my new layout?). While these interests are just developing, my main side hustle is my gig as a waitress at Sup Dogs restaurant—the best place in Chapel Hill.
While working in a restaurant may not be considered a ‘passion project’ or ‘creative outlet’ by some, it’s what fills my time when I’m not in class, in the library or watching Kardashians. Being a waitress has provided me real-world working experience, enhanced my networking skills and improved my social life (my colleagues are my second family).
I was hired at Sup Dogs shortly after they opened in July of 2014. Below, you’ll find the top six benefits I’ve gained since becoming a “Sup Pup”.
In order to be a successful waitress, you must build a positive rapport with your customers. Keeping the conversation lively, yet professional is important. Every waitress deals with those customers that are rude and sometimes even misogynistic. You know, the ones that flag you down to order after you’ve been to the table three different times asking if they’re ready. Or the ones that ask the price after tax, just to be sure. Or the ones that just don’t look you in the eye, ever. You’ll encounter different types of people all throughout your life, so it’s an added bonus that I already know how to successfully work with them.
- Time management
My mom has always said that being busy is a good thing. Why waste your time being lazy? Acquiring a job while in college taught me to plan ahead for everything – except for things you can’t plan, like the time I was an hour late because I was literally caught in the tornado that hit Chapel Hill recently. Not a joke, it was a near death experience. Coincidentally, I was actually walking to work when the downpour occurred. In order to combat these unexpected happenings, I try to stay on top of what I can control. I keep my planner up to date with every big event—from papers and tests, to sporting events and socials—in order to ask off if necessary. This extra planning forces me to study in advance for things most people would procrastinate on. I learned this skill the hard way after putting off studying for a big exam once. I realized how unprepared I was as I got ready for work that night, so I took flashcards into work and had everyone quiz me (even some people sitting at the bar). Waitressing provides both flexibility and structure when you need them most.
It’s a team effort. We all work to make sure every customer is happy. Working at Sup Dogs has given me the chance to meet and become close friends with amazing people that I probably would have never had the opportunity to truly get to know otherwise. I can honestly say that I’ve met some of my closest friends here. The connections we’ve made are unlike any other relationship I’ve built because we’re spending five hours a day together when we’re working. This will make you close with people even if you don’t want to. I can open up to them like no one else, and they act as my escape from things when times are tough. The night of my 21st birthday was spent with my Sups friends. They made me cupcakes, painted wine glasses, a mug and a cooler, and made 21 balloons that had glitter and a task inside each – instead of the traditional 21st birthday sign. The whole night was spent popping these balloons with glitter going everywhere and sticking to everything. I stood on the table to give a nice speech to the restaurant at one point. It received a standing ovation, I was quite proud. I’ve never had anyone do anything like this for me, and it’s still the best birthday to date because it was so special.
- Open work environment
I appreciate the relationship that our General Manager, Lindsey, has built with her employees. She is both our best friend and our boss. She has mastered this relationship and cultivated an environment where we are free to be ourselves and have fun, yet are held to a certain standard of excellence. We often all go out to dinner and have cookouts together, and I love knowing that if I ever need a good home-cooked meal she’s just a phone call away. Working in a restaurant that’s locally owned has added benefits as even the owner asks for our opinions on things. He and his wife encourage employees to utilize their personal creative content to further social media marketing. I want to later work in an environment that fosters openness among all levels of colleagues, where even the CEO values the opinion of an entry-level employee. My friends and roommates often get annoyed by my forcing them to hang out there all the time. The fact that all of the employees are kind of obsessed with the place just goes to prove this example. Socializing at Sups is the best and everyone knows it.
- Fun atmosphere
Did you see the video of the vibe during the Duke game this year? It’s totally insane to be surrounded by that kind of energy, and it’s exhilarating to work in that setting. I strive to work in a fun-loving environment that encourages one’s hidden goofy side and working at Sup Dogs has definitely brought out mine. We often do a Sups Snapchat takeover complete with dance parties and selfies galore. Honestly, we’re probably the only restaurant that has staff photoshoots on the daily – we know it might be annoying to others, but we have fun.
- Strong, honest work ethic
In the restaurant industry, you’re held accountable for the things you do wrong. While everyone will help you if you mess up, it’s ultimately your responsibility to stay on your toes and adapt to the ebbs and flows. I love knowing I worked hard for the money I earned because I enjoy pushing myself to meet my goals.
While this activity may not be considered a hobby, I truly enjoy it because I feel that by working as a waitress I’ve expanded my personal skill set. It also bridges the gap between generations in more ways than one. Both of my parents had to work their way up to where they are today in their respective careers, as I’m sure many of yours did. Their elevated position didn’t come from sitting on the couch! My mom worked at JC Penney through college while my dad did everything from construction work to pipe fitting. They taught me to work hard for what you want in life, because it will never be just handed to you. Personally, I’m appreciative for the opportunity to have a little fun while I’m at it!
Cheers to happiness and kindness,